Pseudopod 117: Deep Red

By Floris M. Kleijne

Read by Ben Phillips

Blood matting her blonde hair, blood on her face, blood covering so much of
her it takes a moment to see she is naked. The dream gives me an eternity to
see her. Eyes wide open and shining, shining. And she grins. That grin has
never stopped haunting me. In the dream, I know what she’s done in the
bedroom. And I’ve never seen her happier, more exulted.

Deep Red envelopes her, emanates from her every visible pore. It’s like she
has taken a bath in perfume. The scent engulfs me, blurs my mind, until I
smell only that and see only her grin. Her lips part, and in the dream, she
speaks two words.

“Hey, baby…” she says, and in the calm and affectionate tone of her words,
the horror of the dream reaches an unbearable level.

Full text available here

01
Changwa Steve
November 21st, 2008 3:51 pm

I always enjoy Ben’s reading. Good show : )

02
phignewton
November 22nd, 2008 1:04 am

odd, i felt no empathy for this protaganist… in the cold dead meaty innards of my heart i could care less if his brains got splattered into small chunky bits…

03
Puking Robot
November 22nd, 2008 4:43 am

Predictable ending, but I enjoyed this story. Creepy and horrible (uh… horrible in a good way, I mean). Nice reading by Ben, and Alasdair’s intros/outros are brilliant as usual.

04
Puking Robot
November 22nd, 2008 4:52 am

I just noticed this is the same author as the latest Escape Pod, “Beans and Marbles”. I really enjoyed that one as well. Let’s hear more of Floris’ work!

05
November 23rd, 2008 10:58 pm

Sadly, all I get are error messages. I will try back later.

06
V
November 24th, 2008 4:13 pm

I have a hard time imagining a man being this scared of a woman, especially one who just broke out of Arkham Maltreatment Asylum for the Stereotypically Insane.

Feels very dated and rather unconvincing, with a sexist streak to boot.

But I didn’t like “Beans and Marbles” either. That said, I’ve never heard a reading from you guys that I disliked, so that kept me listening. (:

07
November 25th, 2008 4:11 pm

I for one found this well-told, with Hitchcock-esque tension. True, I saw the ending coming from a few paragraphs ahead, but I found the build-up very dread-inducing, and had this installment been accompanied with music like some others, I doubt I’d have been able to finish it.

08
November 26th, 2008 2:45 pm

Ben’s reading was great. I love Alasdair’s words too. Great production on the story.

I can see why they story was good. It was well written, BUT . . . I was hoping for something I did not see coming.

09
November 26th, 2008 3:51 pm

Nope. No. No way. I really wanted to cut this story some slack, because I did enjoy it, but the twist is not only predictable but beggars belief. We’re really supposed to accept this entire bill of goods:

  1. The crazy woman wore a brand of perfume so unique that Our Hero not only remembers it years later, but it’s one of her most distinctive identifiers;

  2. Our Hero’s current SO just happened to purchase the EXACT SAME BRAND of perfume, which by the way just happens to have a ridiculously macabre name, as a “surprise” for Our Hero;

  3. The crazy woman JUST HAPPENED TO ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE FOUR DAYS BEF I’m sorry, no.

While competently executed, this story is a disaster on so many levels. Aspiring horror authors: this is what happens when you start with a twist ending and reverse-weave a story from it. You get a story whose every element exists only to serve the twist ending. In other words, the contrived mess that is Deeply Redonkulous.

10
scatterbrain
November 26th, 2008 9:33 pm

Why do they always go upstairs…?

Kleije has made a big impression on me recently, his other story being Bean and Marbles at Escapepod, and I’m buying the rest of his published work from AnthologyBuilder.

11
Lisa
November 30th, 2008 2:53 pm

It didn’t lose me till after the end–thinking about it. Squirting perfume around the house seemed odd. Her saying the exact phrase that the crazy lady would have used seemed odder, and the court finding him guilty despite his having a very good reason to believe he was in danger seemed odder still. And not a good odd either.

To have him imprisoned while she was free would work best if he was truly free while she was institutionalized. Or, if she wasn’t so bound by her insanity.

12
December 3rd, 2008 1:00 pm

I have to disagree with Weirdsmobile’s 1 and 2 because I just washed my hands in the bathroom at my buddy’s house and and the scent of the soap was exactly the same as the body wash used by this chick I used to “spend time with” back in college. Stuff like that happens and scent memory is huge.

To any that thought the rest was too campy or too contrived, you may consider relaxing a bit and just moving on to the next one without commenting. Hitchcock was rarely ‘original’ either, what made his stories interesting — and likewise this one — was that he evoked an emotion that you could empathize with even if the situation surrounding it was nigh impossible. I like the idea of terror so blinding that it would cause you to shoot first even if the risk was destroying everything you love most. I’ve never experienced it, but it fascinates me.

Contrived? A bit. Campy? To be sure. Charming despite this? Absolutely.

13
December 4th, 2008 12:10 am

I agree with Nerraux; despite the somewhat predictable ending, the atmosphere and evocation of all the senses was great.

14
December 13th, 2008 7:24 pm

When this happens to me, I always shoot at the knees. Just in case I’m mistaken, or hallucinating.